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Thursday, December 01, 2011

John McCain - you are at top of my least admired list.

I used to think that McCain was fun, cool, and I liked how he bantered with John Stewart. Then he ran for President and I quickly discovered how liberal and neo-con he was. He couldn't help it, the vile words against Liberty just streamed from his mouth. Then he and Obama became best buds and pushed the first $700 billion bailout bill through the Senate all smiles at helping their big banker buddies at the destruction of the middle class. I figured he was a puppet and a bit lost.

Now he has pushed through one of the most ridiculous and thoughtless bills of all time. From secrecy to law in a few weeks this man who claims to have fought for freedom just stripped our ability to be secure in the knowledge that our own military could not act on us. (Granted the Mexican and Canadian ones could thanks to treaties signed in secret nearly 10 years ago) You have decided "National Security" is more important than "Security from rampant government". Arizona, get that ass out of government NOW before he destroys any more of the American Dream of Freedom and Liberty for all. Oh, by the way - please strike that from the social-liberal Pledge of Stupidity many people recite trying to believe in something that is long dead. Justice? What Justice?

Hope the non-awake people are thrilled with their brain-dead government. Bye, bye Posse Comitatus. John McCain, who was a prisoner of war, clearly thinks it's alright that an American Citizen can be held indefinitely and without reason by the US military. Last I checked, to be a prisoner of war you are supposed to first join a faction that is at war with the army that captures you. Now, however anyone can be labeled a enemy combatant for any reason and they are put away.

Could someone name one reason why we would need such a law? What in the world is our government so afraid of? How is it they can pass laws that fly so obviously in the face of the bill of rights? Fifth amendment? Not needed when you are never given a chance to be called guilty and who needs due process?

Hell, even war criminals used to be charged and held after due process. But those rights should only be reserved for higher ups, Joe American doesn't need that - Corporal Buddy over there with no training in the law should be able to declare you an enemy combatant and be judge, jury, and executioner or just get his superiors to buy into holding you indefinitely cause you might be a terrorist.

Fourth amendment? Don't need proof, so they don't need to search anything - hearsay is good enough!

Don't believe me? Here it from McCain himself:

But, hey it's unimportant to give people the right to a trial if someone decides they might be an enemy.... and as long as you keep your nose clean, they'll never come for you or your family, right? After all we live in a Republic and the laws of a Republic are designed to protect the rights of the minority from the opinion of the majority!

The bottom line is WHY does the government NEED this power? Why is it they think they can give themselves a power that the Constitution clearly states they cannot enact?

Part of security is knowing you are secure from your government arbitrarily picking you as the current group to be labeled, and right now Americans who believe in the Constitution as the Supreme Law of the Land are not viewed favorably by the Government that rules in anarchy.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Another short note from one of my Senators in FL.

August 1, 2011

Dear Marc,

I want you to know that just a bit ago I sent out a Tweet saying I’ll support the compromise plan to end the stalemate over the national debt.

It’s not a perfect plan, but it’s something I feel we need to have right now. It’s going to cut almost $3 trillion from the deficit.

The plan is similar to one I put forth last week, which included some of the concepts you all sent me.

I’m hopeful now that Congress will come together. Below is an informative chart from the Washington Post that pretty well sums up the compromise plan.

Again, thanks for your thoughts,

This is my response to him:

Permit the debt-ceiling to increase? The failed federal government is currently spending $4 billion a day more than it takes in. Raising the debt-ceiling and realizing $1 trillion in savings over 10 years does nothing to help the American people and our children.

Way to go on supporting a bill to pass the buck on to future generations.

What in the world are the enforcement mechanisms and what does it mean, "$1.2 Trillion in deficit reduction?". The annual deficit is at least $1.4 Trillion. Unless that is $1.2 Trillion realized annually it is not a solution.

Right now if the federal government reduced EVERY cost program by 50% we would still have a huge debt and could pay down the deficit at only 248 Billion a year. That would take 50+ years to pay off what we owe, now. Does Congress even realize that?

The federal government is spending like a drunken sailor and this "compromise" plan shows us that the sailors promise to pick up $10 and $20's when they see them laying around on the floor.

Compromise is viewed in many circles as a good thing. Everyone is a winner, and everyone is a loser. However, in this compromise we are all huge losers and no one wins (except the lenders). The dollar will continue to be devalued and the debt burden for my children will continue to grow.

You all have accomplished nothing. There isn't one hard cut in the bill. "Savings" defined as capped spending and agency budget cuts that are not defined or given a time frame (in the news article). If they were annual they would be completely "unrealistic" [not my opinion - but to sustain the current "services"], but sadly not enough to get the US Government spending within its income.

Also, I love your play on words. "It's going to cut almost $3 trillion from the deficit." What are you talking about? The deficit is only $1.4 trillion this year. Are you talking about a nice 10 year solution? "Hey folks, I know we'll be going into debt another $14 Trillion in the next decade, but I found a way to reduce that to just $11 Trillion?"

How stupid do you really think we are?

A no vote is the only reasonable vote on such a "do nothing" bill.

Apparently he didn't hear my thoughts at all. It's business as usual and continued destruction of the economy and our Country's future because our representatives can not sit down and make the real difficult decisions that need to be done. If they don't want to raise the legalized theft on people to pay for the programs, it is time to cut the programs.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The government is the problem

A buddy of mine and I were talking today about the corrupt nature of our officials. In my opinion, most of them are votes for sale. That is the difference between someone with principles (lives up to their promises and their set of beliefs - regardless of how they are viewed - Like Ron Paul) and someone there to play on the team (compromise). Some of those sales involve monetary gain - direct or indirect, the others just blindly follow what they are told to do and sell out to promises of more political clout in the future (still monetary gain). Then those sellouts turn around and invoke legislation at the beck of their masters devaluing the dollar and in turn their piece of the pie that they sold themselves for dwindles. Who is the idiot now? The government might think the masses are stupid - but they are shooting at us through their own foot because of the ineptitude at believing they know more than than our founding fathers did. Their arrogance continues to be our undoing. In an attempt to play God and tip the scales to protect everyone from nearly all imaginable harm they have harmed everyone and in particular they have dashed the hopes of the middle class and the lowest of the low income. Artificial controls of force cannot overcome the natural order of the world, they can just create harm where none was intended and still not fix the problem.

One day people may finally wake up and realize we don't need an official state, but rather voluntarism. Tiny little areas of unofficial self-government. Micro-agreement nations. We need more and varied nations, not less nations under one oppressive empire, in order to thrive as a people. Only in Liberty do people grow wealthy, for only in freedom can people create wealth out of their own labor. This nation proved it in the 1700 and 1800's. The 1900's only coasted along on that prosperity and in the leaders arrogance and ignorance have we finally come to have squandered it away so far that America's government truly owns nothing but debt.

Just because a person is born, it does not subject them to another's rule of law. In a functional society only by choice and agreement (not force or coercion) can one decide what morality or law they will abide by. What they will give up to gain a specific service from a society. Natural law is supreme to regulatory law. Our great experiment in regulatory law has failed and the false "central" government is demonstrating that failure yet again. The masses have no idea what natural/common law are and they believe the government when it tells them they have admiralty law and jurisdiction over them. The lack of this understanding and the false belief in supreme authority of a lawless government is why we are in the mess we are in. People still cling to the false assumption that government is here to solve our problems. Force is not a solution - you cannot force jobs to be created or force people to be happy, yet millions of people believe the government (force) can do this. Why? Because they have been lied to for eons by people who want unearned reward and credit where no credit is due. We make fun of the absurdity in movies constantly ("Cloudy with Meatballs" as just one of thousands of examples) and yet in real life the media that makes those movies clings to using force and political figureheads to force their ideals and concepts on the unwilling and others go to their representatives and demand their fair share or wave a flag of security through power and have us go to war sacrificing thousands of lives. Why? Because today we know better than our stupid founding fathers who warned of exactly these outcomes. The Congress in 1913 knew more than the founders who warned of a central bank and instituted one. The later Congress' saw that the Federal Reserve was not living up to it's primary mandate to control inflation so they changed the mandate to minimizing inflation. Before the federal reserve the dollar was not on a continual decline - it cycled in value as Gold and Silver still due - but with the federal reserve the dollar continues to decline ad nauseum. This is but one program that has failed our country because a few men decided they knew better than the founders and that it was better to cover up a failure with pretty math and twisted words rather than to undo it. Under the Department of Education our nations science and math abilities have continued to go downhill, not uphill - yet the States and Local governments continue to allow their schools to be dictated to by a federal government that provides 6% of the budget for the school.

It is obvious our government serves one goal - one purpose. That goal is to convince us we need government and they do that by messing with natural law and making things that were already working as well as they can, broken (medical care, retirement, mortgages, elections, free speech zones, airport security, and on and on) then they blame everyone but themselves and create more programs that make it even worse and the cycle continues because we allow it to.

Did you know that at any given moment 90,000 federal government employees are traveling via airplane? (this was a statistic from 2001) That's gotta be cheap, yes? In 2009 the federal government directly employed 2,823,777 civilians! That doesn't include the contractors, or the military, folks!! That's one federal goverment employee for every 110 people in the country. Is there not a problem with this? Using the numbers from March of 2009 the average payroll is 64,192 per person. That means that each of the 110 citizens are paying $583 a year in taxes just to cover the salary of civilian government employees. Of course, not all 110 of those people are working or reporting their income, so the others pick up more of the share. Also, as a side note, I know that the military is being completely left out of this average salary.

It boggles the mind to imagine that the federal employees are really just a drop in the financial bucket, though.

What about the entire budget of the DOD & Homeland Security for 2011? 929 Billion Dollars. Oh, but doesn't include the interest on the debt we've incurred to cover these "recent" wars. The interest stands at a paltry $431.5 Billion dollars a YEAR. That's almost half of the entire defense budget! But, then debt is okay, right? Let's just keep raising the ceiling!

Currently we owe more money to foreign entities than we make in a year (GDP) - that doesn't mean more than we give in taxes, but rather more than we as a nation produce in a year that is then taxed.

Some numbers show that the Interest payments on the debt for this year will be only $386 billion dollars. That's money going completely down the drain and doing nothing for us. Not that we need a Department of Education, but it is only $31 billion a year - to give you a contrast on "importance".

So, how did we get here? Oh, yeah, we gave an entity the right to use force to protect our Liberty and somehow that mutated into protecting us from nearly everything that could go wrong in our lives and now we are in a cycle that will take eons to get out of, even if we immediately cut all spending in half - including Social Security. If we did that today, it would lower the budget to 1.91 Trillion and give us 430 billion to put on the principle of the debt. However, since the interest on the debt cannot be halved another set of programs would have to lose funding to total an additional $193 billion in order to actually cut the expenses in half. That actually means that if we halved our total spending for the federal government, then over the next year we could actually only pay down the debt $237 billion.

So, if we cut all spending in half, then we could pay down the US debt at $237 billion a year! That means we could payoff the debt in just 59 years!

Not excited? Me neither. However, folks - this is how big a mess we are actually in. Even if we literally took every dollar our richest people in America have it would not make a tiny dent in the debt. Best case scenario it would lower it down to 12 Trillion dollars - it is believe that our richest only have around 1.3 Trillion combined, however. You see, you can't go based on what they hold in paper on the Stock market, because as soon as they started selling to give that to the government the stocks would fall and they would get much less for each share as it sold.

What else can we do? We can raise taxes. Do I believe that would help? No. I believe it would simply destroy more businesses and result in more layoffs and more unemployment.

How do we get out of this and never come back? We have to start paying off the debt and cut government spending immediately. Unfortunately this will result in layoffs and unemployment too. However, once we can get the burden of wreck-less government spending off our backs then we can begin to work on prosperity again and take the responsibility for ourselves and each other back on our personal shoulders where it belongs.

No, I am not proposing utopia, but then there is no such thing. Liberty is as close as we will get on Earth - and it will include suffering and winners and losers. However, the use of force to help each other is no help at all. As our democrat brothers in Congress have been pointing out recently - the poor are worse off than ever and that is following a War on Poverty by our US government that has only made the poverty level go up.

Government is not the solution - how many more examples do we really need to understand that?

Debt Ceiling has nothing to do with defaulting

Spending beyond our income has EVERYTHING to do with defaulting!

I want to clarify for people what the debt ceiling is. It is the agreed upon maximum debt our government decided it would allow itself to go into. It is the same as a credit card limit. If you hit your limit, but you still need credit to make your day to day costs, you cannot simply vote yourself a new limit, can you? Surely no one is going to believe that increasing that limit will ensure they can continue to make the minimum payment and all their other bills forever? If your credit cards were all maxed and you needed credit to continue paying your bills, will increasing the amount you owe help you bring that under control? It may provide a temporary shelter but in the end you will owe more and your monthly payments will go up and you will have less money to meet your primary obligations.

But many bloggers and the President of the United States would have you believe that only by raising the debt ceiling (the credit limit of the US Government) can we avoid a default. Not only will this NOT avoid a default (it may delay it) but it will ensure that if we default later we will have many more angry debt collectors at our door.

There is only one way to reduce our debt and that is to cut unnecessary spending. Washington needs to start right with their own salaries and Congress needs to start by halving their salaries and eliminating their retirement program. They have failed our country and no longer deserve the lavish lifestyles they lead on our tax dollars. Most of them are very successful people and can easily afford to pay for expenses above and beyond what a typical private sector employee would be reimbursed for periods of travel. Alcohol with dinner? Pick that up with your own dime. $50-$500 dollar entree? You can pay for any amount over $20 yourself "honorable" person. Hell, they ought to be at home enjoying the same thing most of us are - $13 Lasagna, $8 tacos, or a $10 Pork Lion with trimmings for the whole family.

The President gets a $400,000 salary that is on top of a nearly 100% expense budget. He gets to bank all of that income to save for when he is out of office. A private sector employee earning $50,000 a year would be fortunate to save that up in a 401K in 52 years of employment and somehow this is justified as a payment for one year of services rendered? The office of the President is about service. Yes, he could probably make more in the private sector - it is supposed to be about public service, not about the ability to buy two or three houses a year. But wait, there is more! He's in on the same retirement that the Congress is and boy is it a good one! Not only that, but he gets a life long security detail. The latter I can understand to some degree. These things are not free, however and they are paid for by the taxpayer.

The only way to avoid default is to sit down and remove from the budget all the programs, foreign aid (in all forms - including military), until the government is spending less than it is earning - including the payments on the debt and it's interest. Right now that would require removing $4 billion dollars a day from the budget. Seriously? They can't find a way to quit spending $4 billion a day? Moreover how in the name of all that is holy are we spending even that much a day?! Then they need to sit down with the Constitution and remove all programs that are not directly provisioned for in the Powers Clause and phase them out.

They do have another choice - they could sell some assets. They do hold a ton of land (80% of Nevada for example), sadly most of that land is out in areas people could careless about right now, but there are several locations in premium metropolitan areas that would fetch top dollar. Think IRS and Federal buildings in downtown or mid-town areas. They could sell these and pay down the debt. We don't need the IRS in its current gigantic size - the fairtax could help ween us off of them and as the legislators worked to remove more programs. The government should never have ran many of the current programs that should have only been tried in the private sector. We could eventually eliminate the need for taxes whether they be income or consumption. The federal government was intended to run off import fees and tarrifs and that is where it needs to be returned to. Power of Law, not $$ should be what makes the States respect the powers they gave the Federal Government - but only those powers directly provisioned and nothing more.

Another major thing they could do is eliminate the Federal Reserve. Only with the Reserve out of the way will we have a chance to strengthen the dollar. The Reserve has done nothing but devalue the dollar since 1916 and it's owners have no reason to do anything other than keep the US in perpetual debt. We the slaves to the Federal Reserve, working and paying our debt as income and a myriad of other taxes forever. Is that what we want for our Children and our grand Children?

The next step would be for Congress to ask themselves, "Does this program need the power of force behind it to work?" That is all government is: force. George Washington knew this. Government has been licensed by the people to use force. It is an archaic and deadly institution. People should only use force to protect themselves, not to get their way. What program needs the power of force behind it?

The military? Yes.
NASA? No - privatize it.
(I love our space program, but why does it need to be government ran?) As 4,000+ people found out last week the government can't keep people employed once a program is defunded.

The Postal Service needs force? No!
Privatize it and wish it luck in the world of competition. It did back when the country was rugged. UPS has gone for bailouts a time or two, but Fedex has proven it can be done as long as people are willing to pay the price it costs to get it there.

Retirement funds need force? No!
We are all investing in a lie and we know it. The Congress takes the money and spends it, then they have to borrow to get money to the people who are supposed to be collecting from money that was invested for them. It wasn't, it's gone and it is only costing our children and their children and their children to fund us now.
Medical Insurance needs force? Really? No!
Medi-care/cade are failing seniors and poor people constantly. Doctor's can't afford to provide care to people on the program unless they are willing to gouge other patients or work as if they are in a non-profit. Health Insurance should not be used for 80% of care, because by using it people don't care that an office visit can cost $200 as they only pay $15-$20. By hiding the "true" expense away people are numb to the actual charge and it doesn't irritate them enough to realize that government mandates and regulations are why medical care is so expensive. Those who don't have insurance understand that the teams of administrators, lawyers, and insurance that doctors have to carry is why healthcare is so expensive - not because doctors are greedy. By adding the veil of "insurance" it removed the consumer choice in spending from the equation and made healthcare have no reason to be competitive, but instead maximum price fixed regardless of the efficient processes of the hospital or doctor's office you are visiting. Insurance has ensured price-fixing rather than negate it.

Of course, we can't just flip a switch and turn these programs off - many would need to be spun off into the private sector where they may flourish or die and be bought up by other companies and improved or eventually dismissed as a failed idea. Others, like Social Security would need to be phased out in the long term and replaced with a different idea completely from the private sector and mildly regulated by the States. Sure, we love the idea of a Federal guarantee, but the reality is that it is the taxpayer that guarantee's it. We are guaranteeing our own possible loss, by law. So, just like what happened in the bailouts we point a gun at ourselves and make ourselves bail out the big business that "failed" at our own expense. Some guarantee....

Here is what I wrote my Senator - Senator Bill Nelson.
Senator Nelson,

I am all for any legislation to prevent default, unless it includes raising the debt ceiling. We cannot borrow our way out of debt and raising the ceiling only increases the debt.

Americans who have not been fooled into believing that the only way not to default is to increase the credit limit would likely agree that the only proper method is to immediately terminate spending that creates more debt. Focus on basic needs and paying off the debt. That means we need to cut more than 4 billion dollars of every day's expenditures. That comes out to 1.5 Trillion a YEAR. Don't settle for any cool looking plans that save a couple trillion over 10 years or 20 years. That won't solve anything.

The government is spending like a drunken sailor and it doesn't just do it occasionally, it does it every second of every day. Time for the government to realize it depends on the working American and right now working America can no longer afford drunken government.

If Congress would like to fix its image the first thing it needs to do is include pay cuts to all Congress and immediate termination of their retirement program. There is absolutely no reason to be paying millionaires and successful business people a retirement check for serving as little as one term in Congress. Yes, it's not a huge drop in the bucket, but it is a drop and the little drops add up. But that drop would send a message to the American citizen that Congress is finally waking up and cutting where it "hurts them" first. Remember "public servant" is the key. Sure Congress deserves just compensation for travel and expenses, but no more than the average employee would get for travel and expenses. Most employers would scoff at an employee trying to expense wine and beer with dinner or dinners costing over $25 a plate. Time for Congress members to pay out of pocket if they think they deserve better. Most of them can certainly afford it without the taxpayer's help.

Clean that up as a part of the bill and who knows - Congress might actually click up in ratings.

Monday, July 04, 2011

A letter to Senator Bill Nelson of Florida

Thanks for your fourth of July message.

Please note, as a veteran, I take issue at anyone calling this nation a democracy. I didn't serve so a few people in Washington could vote out our rights and I am tired of the progressive erosion of our freedoms done in the name of "democracy".

Please take some time to research what the founding fathers thought of democracy. In a nutshell democracy is anarchy of the majority. A republic - what this nation is supposed to be - is protection of the minority and majority through rule of law.

Put aside the nonsense of the special interests and help to issue in a return to limited federal government that follows the law of the land. The federal government is not the central government of America - it is a body created to perform a very few limited functions assigned it by the States and the People who hold the true sovereignty and power in this land.

Right now our federal government operates in anarchy and until it removes all functions that are outside it's Constitutional authority it will remain a lawless entity that serves only itself no matter how much propaganda it issues forth to convince people it is for the greater good.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Internet Explorer 9 - another business tax

Microsoft has a new browser, but it is not for anyone running Windows XP64 or below! That's right, Microsoft has taken a stance that they would rather lose IE market share than support their own Operating Systems. Granted XP is 10 years old and about to be phased out of support, but XP64 is only 7 years old and has been overlooked by Microsoft since Vista 64 was released. I am so glad I spent $300 for a copy of it to be constantly left out of the 64 bit loop simply because I was an early supporter!

I just read an interesting article where Mr. Methvin of InformationWeek describes older versions of IE as the hidden tax of web development. I don't disagree with his position as it is true that older versions of IE do add to development costs and time, thanks to their lack of standards compliance.

I added that there is another very real tax that Microsoft places on the serious web community each time it releases a new browser. It's true you don't normally hear about it from the marketing engines or the mainstream press in regards to the costs it places on the companies, but behind the scenes the IT departments buckle down for another very expensive episode of preventing the "critical update" and determining whether or not to re-write a major portion of their internal sites to work with the latest IE. This it the other tax that Microsoft places on all companies each time it releases a new browser - the cost of redesigning parts of their sites to keep it functional in the new IE.

Yet again, the list of sites that have issues with a new version of IE is growing and the IE9 users are running to the forums of these companies and demanding that the companies "fix" their sites to work with IE9.

Let's not forget the MS has yet again set their browser "upgrade" as a critical update thus forcing IT staffs world-wide to spend cycles ensuring their Vista and Windows 7 boxes will not be upgraded until they have tested all internal and business dependent external sites will work with IE9. The testing is not free, it's a very exhaustive and expensive process and even when the IT department is confident that the latest version of IE9 can be safely released to a sub-population of the company's staff they often times find themselves up all night trying to fix an issue that a few employees discover breaks their ability to do their jobs or that a VP discovers breaks a special system they had not shared with the department. I speak from experience and although I love that Microsoft is why I had income I don't enjoy being forced to stay up all night to ensure my company can do their jobs.

My advice to all those companies is to let IE die and begin using real browsers that design themselves to work with the standards and include features to ensure sites that already exist are displayed and function correctly. Not all of those browsers will be able to perform the functions that IE6 or Netscape did or in-house development, but they may be able to take over for some areas and free your IT department from the chore that is IE "upgrade" testing.

It is time for the bully on the block to learn that every time they build another car the countries of the world should not have to redesign their roads.

I find that every time I author a site I have to design for real browsers, then drop in hacks for IE. IE is the hidden cost, not just IE6 or 7, but IE period. IE9 may be the best yet at standards compliance, yet there are discussions about CSS issues that didn't exit in IE8 and even companies like Facebook have users complaining about basic functions being broken for them in IE9.

Microsoft can know that I, for one, will not develop for IE9. If my site looks okay on IE9, then great, but as an end-user that doesn't have one of their "new" Operating systems I have no way to test for it, and I could careless to develop for something that I cannot get easy access to.

The only new cool feature I see in IE9 is the 3D graphic rendering engine. Call me a pessimist but I see the so-called "integration with Windows 7" as just a great thing to be exploited via another set of lovely security loop-holes. Honestly, the age of playing games in the browser is just around the corner and I can assure you Microsoft will not be the only contender with full 3D rendering.

Before I go, I will share what I like about IE9. I like that they finally woke-up and presented a GUI that is about surfing the web and not about toolbars. It is almost where IE6 was but with tabs, in that you can move everything to one bar at the top, sadly, though they aren't quite as good at providing room as the Chrome browser, but they are very close (as a matter of fact at quick glance it looks almost identical). I'll never forget the bullet point of IE7 that it provided more real-estate for viewing the web, but literally had three locked rows, all rows that could be moved into one row on IE6. Yeah, that's progress "Microsoft style!"

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Virtual Property Discussion

-=-=-=-This is a clip of an entry I wrote in regards to a "debate" about who has rights to what in a game. Several compelling legal arguments were brought to the table stating that the gamers have a right to their virtual items that they purchased in a game. As compelling as the arguments were, they were legally based on a flawed idea.-=-=-=-=-

I argue that if the players ever win such suits and laws are made placing the game owners into perpetual virtual access providers regardless of sustainability (financial and technical) then we will witness a marked decrease in the availability and variety of virtual entertainment. The concept of collecting in a game will evaporate and many items will either encounter a fixed decay rate or come with a note stating they are only guaranteed to be provided for x number of days. I'd prefer it stay the way it is with me knowing it will probably stay there until the server is shutdown.

The concept of feeling ownership in a game, for the player, is inevitable, but not realistic. By that I mean that we truly feel we have invested the time or the money for the item that we previously agreed will always be the property of the game's owner, but we feel that we own it. The reality is we don't own it anymore than we do our own house and plot of land that it is on. There is a larger power that owns the land and if you don't pay that power they will take your land. That isn't how it was supposed to be in the land of the free - we were supposed to have full property rights when we bought our land, but only a very few people do. If you don't believe me, simply don't pay your property taxes.

I understand the unfair business practices argument, but it's only unfair if they promised us in their contract that they'd never change anything once released. They didn't. As a matter of fact this is from the Terms of Service under the "Content Rights" paragraph:
You acknowledge and agree that all Content, including, without limitation, all accounts, characters created, and virtual items or in-game currency acquired and developed as a result of game play, are the sole and exclusive property of Playdom and may be used by Playdom (and/or its affiliates, publishing partners, distributors, licensors and licensees) for any purpose, including for commercial or promotional use. You agree that you may only upload or otherwise transmit on or through the Services Content that does not infringe the intellectual property rights of any third party, and you represent and warrant that any Content you do transmit will not infringe the intellectual property rights of any third party.
As it is their property, they may do with it as they wish, including delete it.

I have 7 years of ownership in Star Wars Galaxies, yet I can't access one item that I have earned over those 7 years unless I renew my account by resubscribing. During those 7 years SOE not only modified properties of items I owned, they even rendered several items completely useless. I had spent over 200 million credits, which took me hundreds of real life hours to earn to buy anti-decay kits to keep my clothes from decaying off my Jedi. With one game update they removed decay from the game and rendered the most expensive items I had ever bought to a useless display item and they reinvented the game from a turn-based MMORPG to a first person click shooter MMORPG. The outcry from the players was tremendous and their forums rocked with the upset players comments. The end result was that SWG lost hundreds of thousands of players and it has been downsizing to fewer servers ever since.

To actually claim legal ownership rights to the virtual items would mean one of two things - either we would have to being paying for our share of the database for as long as we wanted it to run - with that price going up as the player ownership base went down, or we'd have to buy the complete rights to the designs or a permanent license to use the designs from the company at a cost of thousands of dollars per item. Then, and only then could we claim we have the right to their property.

Regardless of the "logic" behind the arguments raised in the articles you shared, ____, they are completely lacking in common sense. One of the biggest failures for America, and many countries around the world, has been a mass movement away from common or natural law and an adoption of admiralty and color of law. Our involvement does not garner us ownership in the game any more than our being a member of the crowd at a ballgame assures that our team will win or that we can take the seat home with us at the end of the game. To gain entry into the stadium again, we must pay again, even if the building was built completely with our tax dollars. Just because we feel we should have entitlement it doesn't mean we do. We are not the ones who risked anything to provide the game.

But there are those who will pursue the legal recourse, sapping billions of dollars from the gaming industry over the years. Billions of dollars that we, the end-user, provide and that could have been used to research and develop better and more entertaining games but instead will be used to line lawyers and government officials pockets so they can debate the moral and ethical dilemmas of ownership of virtual property that was designed and provided by one set of people for the entertainment of another set of people.

Again, I don't agree with their decision or how it was handled, but I will uphold their right to do so.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My first sticky!

Okay, for those not in the know a sticky is a thread that gets positioned to the top of a section in a forum as it is a helpful thread that the community moderators believe should be kept visible for future readers.

I submitted this post to the City of Wonder forums today and it got stickied. It feels like being published for the second time. (Many thanks to my friend Craig for getting me published the first time.)

I found myself helping people and having to explain over and over again how to kill flashplayer to help them overcome memory leaks when playing flash games, so I took a moment and wrote up a post explaining the steps.

Here is that post for anyone who needs help getting rid of flashplayer memory leaks.

How to Force Exit Flash Player without Restarting your PC

Having Facebook post issues from a game? Can't send gifts, request help with building marvels, or travel to allies, opponents, or between your capital and colony?

Is your game slowing down and shortly after reloading the issues are back?

Sometimes it is simply time to reboot your computer. Let's face it no operating system is perfect and eventually memory leaks and fragmentation will require a restart of the user environment (logoff, log back on) or a complete shutdown to poweroff state, count to 10, then turn it back on. It just depends on what service or program is being affected.

Most of the time, however it's just Flash player that needs to be restarted. One would think that closing their browser window that has the flash game in it would close flash. Unfortunately, most browsers use one flash instance for all their tabs including Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. Why it is done this way is beyond me and I wish they'd start providing each tab their own separate instance of flash. The other problem is that even if you completely close every last tab of your browser sometimes the flash plug-in remains loaded and when you restart your browser you are right back to using the "broken" instance of flash that was giving you problems to being with.

Thus, you have two options left at this point. You can either force flash to completely exit or you can restart your computer. Force exit is much faster than rebooting, so here are the steps to save you time. There are different steps for each browser.

Method A
1. Click in the address box.
2. Press SHIFT+ESC
3. A "Task Manager - Google Chrome" window will open.
4. Scroll down and find "Plug-in Shockwave Flash" or similar and click to select it.
5. Click "End Process"
6. You will notice that all tabs using flash will report that flash has crashed. Now reload the page you need and flash will start up again.
Method B
1. Click on the wrench icon in the upper right corner of your browser.
2. Select Tools -> Task Manager
3. A "Task Manager - Google Chrome" window will open.
4. Scroll down and find "Plug-in Shockwave Flash" or similar and click to select it.
5. Click "End Process"
6. You will notice that all tabs using flash will report that flash has crashed. Now reload the page you need and flash will start up again.
Internet Explorer [all versions]
Unfortunately there is no browser tool built-in to even the latest IE (IE8) to show processes, so we have to go out to the good old windows task manager to start killing processes.
1. Close all Internet Explorer windows.
2. Launch Windows Task Manager using one of the following.
b. Right-click on your Start bar (next to the Start button is a good spot) and select "Task Manager from the list.
c. Press Windows Key+R or Click Start->Run.
i. Type "taskmgr" in the run "Open" box and click "OK".
3. Click the Processes tab and select and "End Process" on any iexplore.exe processes you see running.
4. Relaunch IE.
Method A
1. Click Tools -> Add Ons.
2. Select the Plugins icon.
3. Scroll down to Shockwave Flash.
4. Click "Disable".
5. Count to 10.
6. Click Enable.
7. Reload your page.
Method B
1. Install Process Explorer from Microsoft.
a. This is a task manager that shows much more information and detail about the processes running on your computer, including what directory a process is located, who it's parent process is, and MUCH more. I am never without it.
2. Launch Process Explorer, look for firefox.exe.
3. Click the + symbol in front of firefox, if it is not expanded and right-click "plugin-container.exe" and select "kill process".
4. Reload your web page.
Method C
1. Launch Windows Task Manager using one of the following.
b. Right-click on your Start bar (next to the Start button is a good spot) and select "Task Manager from the list.
c. Press Windows Key+R or Click Start->Run.
i. Type "taskmgr" in the run "Open" box and click "OK".
3. Click the Processes tab then select and "End Process" on plugin-container.exe.
Method A
I am not 100% positive this method will restart the flash plug-in's environment, so I would appreciate feedback on your experience using this method.
1. Click Menu -> Page -> Developer Tools -> Plug-ins.
2. Find Shockwave Flash and Disable any and all version you find in the list.
3. Reload the game tab and note that it says to install flash.
4. Enable Shockwave Flash from the Plug-ins tab.
5. Reload the game tab again.
Method B
1. Exit Opera
2. Launch Windows Task Manager using one of the following.
b. Right-click on your Start bar (next to the Start button is a good spot) and select "Task Manager from the list.
c. Press Windows Key+R or Click Start->Run.
i. Type "taskmgr" in the run "Open" box and click "OK".
3. Click the Processes tab and select and "End Process" on any "Opera.exe" processes you see running.
4. Relaunch Opera and reload the game.
Safari on the Mac
For Mac users using Safari, use the following link to help you simply restart Flash.
Gotta love Linux! My native environment. :0)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Tyranny in the classroom

This was written by me as a comment on a blog from the Sun-Sentinel in regards to a bill that has been penned for teachers in Florida to grade parents. See the blog entry for more information by clicking here.


This would be absolutely awesome in a socialist dictatorship, however it has no place in a proverbial free country.

Quit empowering the fictional "state" over the very real people. Quit making moral laws that have great intentions but then only end up destroying the very thing they were made to protect along with the lives of millions.

QUIT PLAYING GOD and let the people decide what is best for themselves and their children.

In case you all have not noticed there has been one constant increase during the decline of our country. The increase has been in the power, taxes, and debt taken by our government at all levels. Reduce government back to its actual place - mediator of disputes - and this country might be able to recover economically, spiritually, and physically. Continue on the terrible purpose of the last 150 years and this country will fall to the bottom of the international community.

My America is being destroyed by all the do-gooders who think they can come up with just one more law to fix everything. Give it up, there is no magic pill or law to fix things. Life isn't perfect and no matter how many laws you pass and no matter how many fines you collect it won't change one thing for the better, it simply adds one more penalty and one more state authorized tyrannical act to something that will happen any way.

Oh, that's right, wave the banner of "for the children" - a favorite of the right-wing. It isn't about the child if you need a law - it's about proving that government is necessary and that society can't function without dependence on rich people telling us which way to look.

My 5 children all get access to the same resources, yet they all perform differently in their education. Three are A- to B+, one is sitting at a C- for the year, and the other is too young for formalized education. Take a wild guess what each teacher would likely grade me would depend on the student, wouldn't it?

Understand that I could _careless_ what a teacher rated me at. They have no business grading anything other than a child's paper.

How much big brother do you people really want? Did you enjoy worrying about your permanent record so much as a child that you just can't stand the idea of being a sovereign adult who should not bequeath their every last decision to a few elected representatives?

It is obvious to me that most people do not understand what Liberty means. Perhaps you should look it up sometime and see what the soldiers of the American Revolution, Texas Revolution, and the so-called US Civil War were really fighting for - the freedom to decide for themselves. The freedom to be the masters of their own destiny. "Remember the Alamo" was a cry for freedom from tyranny - from other people deciding for you.

With that in mind, some parents simply do not place as much importance on education as others do. At least, that is, not in the sense of formalized education that our country's elite has decided is best for our children. Does that mean they are being bad parents? Perhaps to one person it does - but does their opinion really matter more than another persons opinion? Is their child being given access to education? If the answer is yes, then the law is being met. This nonsense of grade averages determining success for our schools is cheating our children of the true purpose of education - to learn and to be given a chance to excel in what interests them, not in all things. Our nation continues to push for testing as the key to success while we continue to fall behind other countries in motivating people to become doctors, scientists, and industry leaders.

Just perhaps we need to remove the government from our classrooms and let the teachers teach. Remove the high-paid administrators who bring no true benefit to the educational system and get the school budgets to operate on less than what it costs to go to a decent private school per year. Give the teachers raises and cut out the nonsense that has school budgets running over $14,000 per year per student. Remove tenure so that teachers who have lost the desire to teach can be removed without pay.

Until then I will continue to home-school and let my child's grades be their grade. You all can participate in the socialist nonsense with the parent being held responsible for their child's performance.....just like your parent wasn't when you (the current parent) went to school. Finally the child can point to the government and prove that the parent's nurturing (or lack there of) was precisely what made them the person they are today. All hail Dr. Spock!